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When British media reported "advanced negotiations" between Tottenham Hotspur and José Mourinho on Tuesday evening, the deal was in fact long overdue.
Spurs' managing director Daniel Levy had contacted the Portuguese a few weeks ago, according to sources close to the club, when the end of Mauricio Pochettino's term of office seemed unavoidable. The team had become tired of their consistently mischievous coach, also was the relationship between Levy and the Argentine also only at Antarctic temperature level. Pochettino could not forgive the club boss that he had not driven the promised rebuilding of the team in the summer more decided.
Too few fresh powers had come to successfully implement Puchettino's elaborate pressing game in its sixth year, having remained too many willing-to-change, older players. "Poch" had complained at the end of September about "conflicting ideas in the team". After the 2-7 home defeat in the Champions League against Bayern even the biggest optimists had realized that this relationship had no future. Only disagreements over Pochettinos compensation and last details to be clarified with his successor delayed his expulsion.
In Munich Pochettino should not be an issue
Insiders do not rule out that Pochettino ultimately provoked his departure to bring in time for new tasks in position. At Real Madrid and Manchester United, he will be back in the coming weeks again, perhaps also in Munich, where he stood on the candidate list in the summer of 2018 before the recruitment of Niko Kovac. However, there were reservations at the Säbener Straße to entrust the team to a non-German speaking coach with half a dozen co-trainers. Apart from that, Pochettino's ball-hunt tactics and notorious hard-fitness training are a bad match for the primacy of combination football recently awarded by Oliver Kahn to the German record champions.
Andrew Yates / REUTERS
In the past season still competitors, now predecessors and successors: Pochettino (behind) and Mourinho
At the Spurs (Table 14, eleven points behind fourth place), on the other hand, in the current constitution only the results count. Pochettino's highly successful work with four consecutive premier-class appearances could not change the basic dilemma of the financially cautious club: to be able to employ a Champions League-level squad, Tottenham must play in the Champions League. For that reason, Levy could no longer watch the frightening decline. The commitment of Mourinho came to be self-defense.
Not a project coach, rather the species of contract killers
One could also speak of a skipping action. At first glance, the election seems highly peculiar. The 56-year-old is known for favoring more experienced players and publicly demanding expensive reinforcements in each transfer period. Tottenham, however, has relied on kickers from their own youth for many years and invests the least from all top English clubs year after year. The salary level in 2017/2018 was exactly half of the 345 million euros that Mourinho's former Manchester United club paid to the workforce.
As a coach for the necessary upheaval at White Hart Lane, the self-promoter from Setúbal is also not exactly predestined. Since his breakthrough at FC Porto in 2002, he has worked exclusively with clubs that were either at the top of the food chain in their leagues or who had a reasonable claim to dominance. He is not a project trainer, more the species is a hitman. Mourinho does his job cool and leaves no trace, but often devastation. His methods based on error prevention, conflict and high psychological pressure are used even at top addresses after two seasons at the latest.
So you have to come up with the idea of hiring the passionate arsonist as a firefighter. But it does not lack a certain logic: with the endeavor also to restore its own reputation Mourinho should indeed return a little "energy and faith" (Levy) in the elf. At least in the short term.